Route 46 Driver Sentenced for Tragic Accident in Paddington

On Saturday 29th November 2008 Metroline employee Patrick Docherty started work at a quarter to four in the afternoon. By 5.15pm he was involved in a tragic accident on Westbourne Terrace in Paddington.

Foreign student Karin Duphey, a 22-year-old dutch national was crossing a zebra crossing when she was hit by Patrick's single decker route 46 bus. She had barely been in the country three months and was studying Fashion Marketing at Westminster University.

At the time of the accident buses were being diverted due to roadworks and on this particular day the route 46 buses had to go on a new diversion. It appeared that Patrick took a wrong turning and ended up following a line of traffic along Westbourne Terrace. At the junction with Chilworth Street the road narrows due to a traffic island. It was here at the zebra crossing that the accident happened.

It was a dark, wet and cold evening. The route 46 bus was on it's journey from Lancaster Gate towards it's destination at Farringdon Street. At approximately 5.15pm Karin walked out onto the zebra crossing. She was wearing dark clothing but the zebra crossing and protective zig zags were well lit. The crossing was not obstructed and clearly visible. She moved at a leisurely pace onto the crossing apparently in the mistaken confident belief that it was safe to cross, perhaps mistaking the direction of the flow of traffic. The bus hit her, the point of impact being in the middle of the front of the bus.

The bus travelled on for another 33 metres before it stopped. Patrick had not realised that his bus had run over a pedestrian. He stopped because he heard a bang and thought someone had thrown something at the bus. A passerby directed him to the rear of the bus where Karin's leg was visible. Emergency services were called but she had suffered abdominal injuries that were fatal. She died at the scene of the accident.

The court heard that the bus was 20 feet away when Karin started crossing and Patrick did not react to what was happening in front of him and did not start to break when approaching the crossing. The bus was examined after the accident and was found to have no mechanical deficiencies.

Patrick had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing of causing death by careless driving. The court decided that it was the noise that made the driver stop, not the accident itself and that it was not a delayed reaction to the event but a lack of action.

On Thursday 17th December 2009 at Southwark Crown Court, Patrick was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for a year, 200 unpaid hours community service, disqualified for a year and his license was endorsed with 9 penalty points.